The New York Giants are officially using our children against us.
We're not sure if the Giants' Super Bowl win this Sunday added insult to injury or validated our best efforts (at least the Patriots couldn't beat them either), but it sounds like Giants coach Tom Coughlin looked to a San Francisco teenager for a little pre-game inspiration this season.
According to SFGate, after watching a YouTube video of San Francisco University High School's Holland Reynolds crawl across the finish line after collapsing at a cross country race, Coughlin showed the footage to his team as an example of the kind of determination and commitment he expected from his players.
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Reynolds, the 17-year-old leader of her cross country team, suffered from a combination of dehydration and hypothermia when she collapsed at the 2010 race, according to ABC.
"My legs just started to feel really heavy, like they'd never been that heavy before," Reynolds remembered in an ABC interview. But after collapsing, Reynolds rolled onto her hands and knees and crawled the final few feet to the finish line. "I saw the finish line. As soon as I crossed it, from then on it sort of went black." Reynolds was immediately scooped up by her trainers and carried to a medical tent for treatment.
"He [Coach Coughlin] saw Holland on this Internet clip," said Holland's coach Jim Tracy. "And he said, 'This is what we need. Keeping our goals ahead of us and getting the job done.'"
Coughlin, a strict disciplinarian, is famous for his quotes and speeches, as well as his enforcement of absolute dedication. (His policy on fining players for being later than five minutes early to team meetings earned him the nickname "Colonel Coughlin.") For Coughlin, Reynold's performance was an inspiration.
"You can see the pain and struggle in her eyes," said Giants punter Steve Weatherford to the New York Daily News. "It set a tone. We're ecstatic to be in the Super Bowl but we have the self-sufficiency to get past anything."
It seems that Reynolds shares the Giants' determination: "It never occurred to me that I might not finish," she said to NY Daily News.
Though encouraging an unhealthy level of competition in high school athletes does make us a wee bit uncomfortable, we applaud Coach Coughlin for looking for inspiration in unexpected places. And we commend Reynolds for extraordinary effort -- even if it did earn her a healthy dose of teasing: "My friends teased me and told me it was my fault the 49ers lost."
Watch the clip that inspired the Giants in the YouTube video below: